Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Neighbors Get Together for National Night Out

By Christina Georgiou

Judy and Michael Turlington grill hot dogs on the 1000
block of Ferry Street.

Block party-goers on the 1200 block of Spring Garden
Street pose for a group photo.
There were at least eight block parties in the City of Easton Tuesday evening to celebrate the 30th Annual National Night Out, five of which were in the West Ward neighborhood of the city.

Neighbors took advantage of streets that were closed, barbequing and sharing food, fun, games, and just generally enjoying the opportunity to get together.

Of the five parties that took place in the city's West Ward, the one on the 1200 block of Spring Garden Street is probably the oldest and was one of the best attended.

However, organizer Ella Mae Mushlitz said this year may be the last one she puts together.

She has continued to sponsor and host the party since her husband, Walter, died in 1996. He hosted neighborhood gatherings regularly even before National Night Out was created and served for years as a sector coordinator and as a block captain for Easton Block Watch.

A tribute to Walter Mushlitz is seen at the block
party on the 1200 block of Spring Garden Street.
"He loved block parties and this neighborhood," she said.

Children wait for their number to be called for raffle
prizes at the block party on Spring Garden Street.
Yesterday would have been the couple's wedding anniversary too, Mushlitz said, adding that her husband would have held a block party that evening if he were still alive.

"He would have said 'I'll take you out to dinner Saturday night' and held the block party," she said.

The parties for National Night Out on her block have continued to grow and the area is strong because of it, she said.

"The last couple of years have been really good because the neighbors have been working together," Mushlitz said.

Adults take part in a water balloon toss on Spring Garden
Street Tuesday evening.
And, for that reason, she expects they'll continue even if she doesn't organize it next year.

Tuesday evening's party on the 1200 block of Spring Garden Street included a DJ, games including a water balloon toss, and raffle prizes of toys for the 35 or so children in attendance.

A lot of the food, beverages, candy, and prizes for the event came from a number of local businesses, Mushlitz said.

"They really deserve a lot of credit," she said. "They've been supporting this for years."

While other parties around the West Ward may not have the same history, the spirit of neighborliness was evident across the district.

On the 1000 block of Jackson Street, neighbors shared a potluck feast while children played in the street and faced off over knock hockey.

Kids play knock hockey in the street on the 1000 block of
Jackson Street Tuesday evening.
At Centennial Park, representatives from area businesses handed out goodies to parents and children, including coupons for free drinks at Wawa.

In the 1000 block of Ferry Street, children enjoyed the street's closure, riding bikes and running around, and neighbors enjoyed a cookout in front of their houses.

Chief Carl Scalzo and Captain David Beitler talk with residents
about their concerns during their National Night Out block party
Tuesday evening on the 1000 block of Jackson Street.
And, in the community garden at South 10th and Ferry streets, about 50 neighbors enjoyed a potluck surrounded by sunflowers and vegetables, well into the evening, only heading home when it became too dark to see.

"This is really nice," one garden party guest was overheard saying. "We should do this more often."

Ella Mae Mushlitz, right, hands out candy donated by
the Carmelcorn shop at the National Night Out block
party on the 1200 block of Spring Garden Street Tuesday evening.

City finance director Chris Heagele and his family walk to the next block
party in the West Ward after attending the one held by the Easton Weed
and Seed Summer Nights program.

A young girl takes advantage of the closed street during the block party on the 1200 block of Spring Garden Street.

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